10 Common Interview Mistakes
Banner Default Image

Posted on 25 August 2023

​It takes a lot of time and effort to attend an interview. When you don’t get the job you really wanted it can be really disappointing. Here’s our list of things to be mindful of when preparing for the big day, that could be tripping you up…

  1. Being Too Late or Too Early

While being late for an interview is a huge mistake, arriving too early is equally as bad – even if you have the best intentions. Hiring managers have tight schedules, so turning up early is likely to annoy or frustrate your interviewer, who may see you as an imposition, particularly if they are in the middle of a task. Interrupting your interviewer could kick off the job interview on the wrong foot, set a bad tone for the meeting ahead and ultimately cost you the job. Instead, wait in your car or a café if you are early  and use the extra time to gather your thoughts. You should not arrive for the interview any more than 10 minutes before it is due to start.

  1. Making a Weak First Impression

Unfortunately no matter how hard the interviewer tries, a lot of ‘I don’t want to hire them’ decisions are made in the first few minutes of contact. If you make a strong first impression, the interviewer will be more inclined to overlook ‘imperfections’ in your answers. When you meet your interviewer for the first time, look them in the eye, say hello or say your name and shake their hand.

  1. Eating and drinking

Do not arrive with a drink or food in your hand. You may be thirsty or in need of a caffeine hit, but turning up with a takeaway coffee is too casual and sends the wrong message. Chewing gum in the interview is also taboo. Of course, if you are offered tea, coffee or water, you should gladly accept, but upon leaving show good manners by asking where to discard the empty cup.

  1. Mobile phone

While waiting for your interviewer to arrive, you might be tempted to check your emails, text or play games on your cell phone, but again refrain as this could be regarded as bad manners. Fiddling with your phone may also make you seem unprepared, unfocused and disinterested. A good rule is to switch off your phone before turning up to your job interview so you can be focused and make the best first impression.

  1. Complaining

Complaining (about the journey to the interview, or the weather), even in jest, is not a recommended icebreaker. It may be completely harmless, or it might make the interviewer switch off. Don’t let complaining set the tone for the interview.

  1. Not being prepared

Re-read the relevant version of your CV and the job advert just before the interview. If you remember what type of person the job advert was looking for, it’s easier to demonstrate that you have those qualities.. Make sure you’ve brought with you anything you were asked for. It’s fine to bring a note-pad and pen, but make sure they’re tidy. It’s even ok to bring notes with you; particularly if  you have questions you’d like to ask. It shows you are taking the job application seriously. Also ensure you research the practice, so you can answer any questions you may be asked about it (particularly your opinions). Ill-prepared candidates rarely get job offers.

  1. Lying

Although it is tempting, it doesn’t work. By all means, gloss over the unflattering things, but out-right fibbing never pays. This is a small profession by comparison and lies may catch up with you.

  1. Slating your current practice or boss

Fed up with your current job and would give anything to leave because they’ve treated you badly? Your job interview is NOT the time to seek revenge. Bear in mind that the interviewer will be listening to your answers and thinking about what it would be like to work with you and will draw conclusions form your answers. So your throwaway comment about your boss or employer may be interpreted as your standard way of thinking. It makes you look bad, not your employer.

  1. Talking about people you don’t get on with at work

It’s common to be asked how you deal with conflict as practices realise the importance of interpersonal relationships in the working environment. But if they ask you about a difficult person or situation, avoid a character assassination or blaming others for problems. If you do accidentally break this rule, apologise and explain what you ‘really’ meant.

  1. Appearing to be too nervous, or too confident

If you appear too nervous, the interviewer will think you’re not confident enough to do the job. However appearing too confident will make them think you won’t fit into the team. If interview nerves are an issue for you, get in touch for some interview coaching.

If you’d like to discuss this further, or would be interested in attending one of our free interview preparation webinars, get in touch at contactus@vettedrecruitment.co.uk

Share this article